My Own Little Hall of Fame: Class of 1924

It’s time for this month’s addition of My Own Little Hall of Fame. As it’s also the beginning of black history month in the US, we’ll put the two things together while introducing the Class of 1924. I admit it’s a somewhat strange class.

George Davis

George Davis

Between 1890 and 1909, George Davis was a premier player. Moving between shortstop, the outfield, and third base he was considered an excellent defensive player. He led the National League in RBIs in 1897 while playing with the New York Giants. Later he joined the Chicago White Sox and helped lead them to a World’s Championship in 1906, hitting .306 in the World Series and driving in six runs.

Sol White

Sol White

King Solomon “Sol” White was a noted second baseman in 19th Century black baseball. Later he managed several teams in various segregated leagues and won a pennant in 1906 in the integrated International League. In 1907 he published History of Colored Base Ball the first compendium of black baseball in the United States.

Now the usual commentary:

1. What took so long with George Davis? As mentioned before, Davis was incredibly obscure in the period of the 1920s. It’s like he didn’t ever play ball. Even the guides don’t mention him except if it’s appropriate in a statistical list. After his retirement he spent several years coaching the Amherst College baseball team. In 1924 I found a reference indicating he’d been gone from Amherst for five years. I decided that this single reference was enough to bring his name back and I took the opportunity to add him to a Hall of Fame to which he clearly belongs. OK, it’s a stretch, a long stretch, a very long stretch, but I took it because I believe George Davis is a Hall of Famer. Because that’s true, I’ve broken one of my own rules. But, then, it’s my rule.

2. Sol White has the same problem every other Negro League player or executive has who I’ve added to my personal Hall of Fame, he’s black in an era where that wasn’t seen by most of the US as a good thing (to put it mildly). But when I set this Hall up I decided I would add black players despite the prevailing attitudes of the 1901-1934 era and White is certainly someone who should be a member. His book is the only major source for black professional baseball all the way to the 1960s. That alone gives him space. He could, in fact, have gone in earlier, but I wanted to hold him for black history month (February).

3. The 1925 class is going to be somewhat like this one. There are no just “have to” players (either everyday types or pitchers) coming up in 1925. I do have to look at someone who, the totality of his career being considered, is a person that may make it. At the same time that individual’s performance isn’t necessarily Hall-worthy if his playing or managing or contributions are looked at in isolation. There are three or four of those coming up and I’ll have to determine which, if any, are going into a 1925 era Hall of Fame and who isn’t.

4. Here’s the preliminary list of everyday players available in 1925: Jack Barry, Cupid Childs, Harry Davis, Mike Donlin, Jack Doyle, Elmer Flick, Hughie Jennings, Bill Lange, Tommy Leach, Herman Long, Bobby Lowe, Sherry Magee, Tommy McCarthy, Dave Orr, Hardy Richardson, Wildfire Schulte, Cy Seymour, Roy Thomas, Mike Tiernan, Joe Tinker, George Van Haltren.

5. The pitchers: Bob Carruthers, Jack Chesbro, Dave Foutz, Brickyard Kennedy, Sam Leever, Tony Mullane, Deacon Phillippe, Jesse Tannehill, Doc White.

6. The contributors: Bob Emslie, Hank O’Day, and Tim Hurst (umpires and Hurst was a manager for a while); Hughie Jennings and George Stallings (managers); Cal McVey and Lip Pike (early players); Ben Shibe and Clark Griffith (owners); Henry C. Pulliam (NL President); William R. Wheaton (pre-Civil War pioneer).

7. And 1926 (April) is the year I have to make a final decision on the Black Sox players. Joe Jackson, Buck Weaver, and Eddie Cicotte are the only three that I have to realistically consider. I don’t think any of the others (Felsch, McMillan, Gandil, Williams, Risberg) have any chance of making it.

 

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4 Responses to “My Own Little Hall of Fame: Class of 1924”

  1. Miller Says:

    I love George Davis. I rank him as the sixth greatest SS ever (though he’s pretty close to #11). However, I’m pretty shocked he made it for you. He was totally obscure, as you said. And then I read your explanation. If it were my job to fight for your rules, we’d have a dispute here. Because it’s not, I agree. Great choice!

    Since my favorites from 1925 are all defense-first guys, I’m interested in your direction here (predicting Tinker).

    Good stuff!

  2. glen715 Says:

    If Charlie Comiskey is in the Hall of Fame (and he is) then so should Joe Jackson. If It weren’t for Comiskey’s stinginess, the White Sox players wouldn’t have thrown the 1919 world series in the first place.

    Glen

  3. The Baseball Bloggess Says:

    Sol White’s “History of Colored Baseball” is still in print. How could I not know about this book? How could I not own this book? Book ordered. Both problems … solved. Thanks, v. You’re awesome!

  4. wkkortas Says:

    I’m not sure the combination of J. Edgar Hoover and National Geographic could have found Davis by the time the mid-20’s rolled around.

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